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Guitar Lessons For Life: How the Unexpected Can Open Horizons

Posted in A Day in the Life, Articles, Future Legends, Indie Music | 2 Comments »

Today we have a guest blog post from Andrew Hand, one of the smartest and sweetest musicians I know. His musical journey led him to NYC where we met, and now he’s enjoying life in Bozeman, Montana, teaching guitar lessons, and following the beat of his own drummer. Enjoy!

If someone had told me a few years ago that I’d be living in Montana and teaching guitar lessons, I wouldn’t believe it

Teaching guitar lessons on the other side of the US…Indeed I wouldn’t believe it. See, I was living in New York City and trying to make connections there and get my music spread to a larger audience. I didn’t have any plans to leave the Big Apple, but life had some other things in store.

Let me just say that I’m where I am because I made choices, it’s not like life happened to me, I was creating a scenario of events that led me to make other choices…and so here I am in Montana…Long way from NYC.

Though I miss the city, I am enjoying the process of embracing where I am

I think the important point, and the reason that I’m writing this, is to share with my fellow musicians, and perhaps all readers; that there are always more opportunities around us than we recognize.

About six months after landing here in Bozeman, I started thinking that I should see about connecting to the music scene here and perhaps try to teach some of what I’d learned about music, songwriting, recording and such. After a few months of trying a few things, I started teaching guitar at the local music store. The first lesson I gave felt so good.

There was just a positive wave of excitement I felt at passing on what I’d learned to someone else and seeing them learning

I’ve been teaching guitar for about four months now and have really enjoyed every student I’ve had. They have all been different and each has had their unique pace and style of learning, which has made me adapt some of my teaching and past notions about what people needed to learn first about guitar and music.

The reason I tell this brief tale is to share my realization that I am learning more from teaching than I am from when I’d just make teaching videos for my guitar teaching website. Seeing how people actually process this information in person has been enlightening. For some the eyes glaze over when we enter music theory land, and for others, an ah-ha moment happens.

I think the takeaway for me is that although I might be doing something other than 100% focussing on my music, I am able to keep involved with music and actually feel less burdened and stressed out about all I have to do to get myself out there. When a student wants to learn “Ring of Fire” or “Speak Now” by Taylor Swift, it gives me a reason to go and really look at these songs and see what’s making them tick.

Since beginning to teach (and for some time before) I’ve been working on a guitar teaching DVD. Because of my student interaction and getting to test things out, I find the product is becoming better and giving me new ideas. I thought I was done with it last week, but on reflecting, I felt that I had put too much information in and not enough ‘practical’ teaching. So I’m re-shooting the whole thing, and so far it’s getting better and better. Yet another bonus!

Doing things you never expected, or maybe didn’t even want to do, might just help expand you in a direction you hadn’t thought of before

For me, what I’ve gotten done since starting to teach, was cover “All Apologies” by Nirvana, do cover video lessons for “Come Together” by the Beatles, and “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash. I’ve created chord charts/scale charts, PDF’s, set up websites and even performed with my students in our recital. It was fun to sing with these kids…

When looking for an answer, they often never come

I have been trying to find an answer for the last year, and have met lots of internal resistance, stress, and a whole host of up and down swings. I’m not one to look at things as obstacles. I haven’t found an answer, other than what I feel to be right. And that is to continue going with the flow and trying to contribute value to others and pass on whatever I can. It’s the same approach that’s guided me in my songwriting and personal/business connections.

There are opportunities, so many in fact, that I have to try and best choose those to pursue, while still reminding myself that music is a part of my purpose here.

My hope is that this little posting has met those who needed to see it and been of service. My thought to you would be this: Listen to the little voice that nudges at you, saying ‘hey, maybe you should try this.’…and then do it. Especially if it’s something that you tell yourself you don’t want to do the next minute.

I’d love to hear from you, so please reach out and drop me a line.

My Very Best Wishes to You,

Andrew Hand

About Andrew Hand:
Andrew is a songwriter, guitarist, and singer with a passion for teaching and helping others to discover and bring out their musical voice. Having started his musical journey at 24, with absolutely no previous training or experience in music, Andrew has gone on to write, produce, and record some 300 songs, and continues to make music that speaks to the human condition and the things we face in life. More of Andrew’s music can be checked out on his personal site AndrewHand.com